marches during the ’30s, Allied bombings during the ’40s, and student
demonstrations during the ’60s. Through it all, secluded and mostly undisturbed, she continued to develop her painting style and ultimately
helped shape the country’s notion of modernity in art.
Jeanne Mammen survived two wars and their aftermaths, but she
was ill-equipped to deal with late-life celebrity as a chronicler of Weimar culture. She complained that the “whole world is after me as if I
were a genius.” Museums and galleries wanted pictures, and magazines
requested interviews and photos of her, her work, and her studio. “Lots
of late nonsense,” she called it. She believed that one should not write
books about pictures: “Who has eyes to see, sees.” Yet, despite her objections, she was recognized as a multifaceted artist who was an illustrator,
draftsman, painter, and graphic artist. When asked what made a great
picture, she replied that the work must “harbor a certain electricity, a
spiritual essence, which captivates immediately.” She was a sharp critical
observer of her time whose full body of work included fine and applied
art. Her watercolors from the ’20s reveal her as a keen observer of the era
and of modern, emancipated women.